Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2013

Family Participation

When my second, and youngest, child got his driver’s license, the ecological side of me decided I needed to downsize my car. It’s been years since I’d toted around Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops or organized carpools to and from school or extracurricular activities. A smaller car made sense. But moving my eldest child back and forth between cities for clinical rotations made me long for the vast boxy-ness of my previous Chevy Astro van. A road trip to Pittsburgh from our Long Island hometown this past week, served two purposes: to celebrate Thanksgiving as a complete family unit, and to move my daughter out of her latest, clinical setting at UPMC.

My family and I enjoyed traipsing through the mountainous and picturesque ‘City of Bridges.’ We laughed, we took silly pictures, and we ate turkey, together. But on our last night, I could see the stress begin to set in. Both my husband and my daughter, the two so much alike, began to dwell on the move.
He asked, “Does she have that much stuff?…

Getting Published

Final Edits, Check!
I am very close to completing the book publishing process. Saving Toby will soon be available in paperback. The publishing company I am working with hasn't given me a date yet, so I don't know if it'll make it out before the holidays.

I almost hope, for my family's sake, it isn't available until after the New Year. It took a lot of effort and time to promote Saving Toby in its current ebook format. Knowing it will soon be available in physical form, is a whole new level of excitement, but it will require a great deal of focus.

Writers who get traditionally published have the expertise of agents and publishing houses to back up their work.

I am Self-Published. Some might call me an Indie Author.

While I pay an editor to work with me, when it comes down to it, as a self-published author, I am responsible for every aspect of the book. (It even says so in the book publisher's contract.)

Not only am I the writer, but the promoter, and seller, to…

Good Karma

You don’t have to preach a sermon. You don’t have to quote twenty-five scripture verses. Just a few kind words can start the healing process for someone else. ~ Joel Osteen Ministries The last few years, I have been doing a great deal of inner reflection, and have worked hard to be positive and to acknowledge the many blessings I have in my life. Being grateful has improved my outlook on life and the challenges I face.

But even riding a wave of gratefulness, I still get hit by rogue waves. Undertow can leave me breathless and sputtering for air.

The other night, right after reading a wonderful comment from a reader, I found an awful, negative review. It was by far, the harshest review yet. The earlier, warm glow of praise slid right off. I floundered in the waves and forgot how to swim.

This reviewer seemed angry and vengeful and went so far as to condemn the writing of my sequel. I understand my book will be judged by all who read it. And, I expect that some will not enjoy the story…

Hello Readers!

The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.     ~ Neil Gaiman, authorWhat a weekend!
Saving Toby's popularity has had an explosion during the 2-day promotional free downloads this past Friday and Saturday. I believe I have scored a slew of new readers. To those, I say welcome! As my ability to navigate the publishing field becomes more practiced and comfortable, I will happily entertain you with many more stories.

For those of you who don't know me, I began working on Saving Toby in the spring of 2010. At that time, the story was loosely configured in my head, and though I'd been writing all my life, I didn't know a lick about how to publish a book, but once I started putting this story together, I couldn't stop.

I fell in love with the my characters, and every day, I thought about how the story would unfold. I had to keep a notebook on hand at all times. Ideas flooded me day and night.

Claudia had origina…

FREE Promotional Downloads!

To celebrate the new cover of Saving Toby, the Kindle eBook version will be available for FREE both Friday and Saturday. 
Find out what all the hype is about!

http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Toby-ebook/dp/B00EV6K2AC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379097630&sr=8-1&keywords=saving+toby


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A blog about Inspiration
Back, just before I consciously decided to take my writing seriously, I was working at a job I loved. While my manager was super smart, our interoffice relationship was awkward. After paycheck cutbacks sent many of my coworkers packing, the situation with my manager darkened. Stressed by the uncomfortable office atmosphere, and now, making less money, I decided it was time to move on.

Was it scary? YOU BET!

Thankfully, I had other financial support to back up this decision, but I didn't sit around. I got another job... a few of them. They included: Web design, pet sitting and bus trip organizing for a non-profit organization on the north shore. My schedule was erratic, and I had a lot of time to think. I asked myself that age-old question, the same one I'd often asked myself most of my adult life - "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I had an answer. I've always had an answer. I wanted to WRITE. Never believing I could actually be ta…

Saving Toby has a New Look!

A New Cover


I have been working with an artist on a new cover for both the eBook and print versions of my novel. This one still has the designer's watermark on it.

Designing a cover has been quite an learning experience. Trying to get someone else to envision what I had in mind was, at times, difficult. (Worse through email) But I believe the final product is very nice.

What do you think?




New cover by Steph's Cover Design

Writing a Book Isn't Easy

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
~ Ernest Heming Everyone is a critic. Authors must grow a thick skin. I am both an author and a critic. I'm not proud to say I have been unkind at times, but being an author has made me more aware of criticism and how hurtful it can be. I've read some harsh and nasty public reviews of other author's novels online.

I found these reviews on Amazon:
Sorry but I think this author needs to find another profession. Could not go on after the 3rd chapter! Reads like a child wrote it.  And another, after a paragraph of why the book didn't work for her, she ended with:
I won't recommend this book to my friends.
I won't buy a book from this author again. 
I am grateful these reviews were not aimed at me or my book, but I feel for these authors. The naysayer in me is resistant to believe these reviewers understand that out there, in the intangible world of the Internet, authors…

If You Want Sweet and Gentle, Don't Read My Book

"Into each life some rain must fall"   ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
Got my first 2 star review.
As much as I want everyone to LOVE my story, it is implausible. Tastes and attitudes vary so greatly from one person to another … and I know this.
The reviewer said she read the beginning and didn't care for the language or characters, and therefore did not finish the book. I take no offense to this review. It sounds like she wanted something gentler than what "Saving Toby" offers. 
If you want sweet and gentle, please don't read this story.

I put a 'Graphic Content' warning within the book's description on Amazon because I wanted to warn potential readers:
Saving Toby isn't gentle
I wrote it to evoke strong emotions. There are scenes that are sweet and a few that may make you laugh, but it is often harsh, and, at times, sexual but then, so is life and love. I tried to write an honest portrayal of a contemporary love affair. 
That said, the good…

Great Weekend!

Downloads were plentiful! Over the weekend, Saving Toby was downloaded almost 1,700 times! It hit #1 in ranking for Romance and Love genre and #11 in New Adult/College genre downloads on both Friday and Saturday.
I also received an additional 5 star review from a reader! (someone I don't actually know! lol)
What also filled my heart with joy, was the phone call I received yesterday from my sister-in-law, a woman's whose opinion I value, not only because she is a wonderful person, but because she is well-educated, and a librarian, to boot. 
I was immensely pleased with her feedback, and I hope she won't mind me quoting her, but she said, "It is so much more than a love story."
She is suggesting Saving Toby to her husband and friends to read.
So if you took advantage of the free download over the weekend, please don't just leave it hanging about on your eReader. READ it! I think you'll enjoy it. And, of course, don't forget to give feedback!
Because of…

Saving Toby Now Online!

Today is the day! My book, Saving Toby is now available for download in Kindle ebook format on Amazon.com!

Here's the link:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EV6K2AC

Reviews encouraged!

Don't have a Kindle? No problem!

You can download a Kindle app to any device (smartphone, tablet or computer) for free.

Go to the http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EV6K2AC and scroll down the right side of the page for a download of "Free Kindle app"


Copyright of cover photo “Young couple behind transparent curtain” © Depositphotos.com/Elena Yakusheva

About to Go Live!

eBook Format, check!
After weeks of tweaking the manuscript (and -- eee gads! -- still finding typos!) I have been working diligently to format the document for upload to Amazon for ebook/Kindle download.

I will be using the book cover below, but only until my newly hired cover artist comes through with a newer, improved version. (Can hardly wait to see that!)

So, dare I say it… the book should be ready to purchase this week.

Posting to follow in the next few days with link to Amazon site!

Wish me luck!

Cover contenders

Final considerations: Bypassing the b/w artistic sexy shots. While the story does have a few steamy moments, it's no "50 Shades." (But will consider them for the sequel!)

These seem to be the top two favorites. I altered the beach scene, left, in Photoshop to make it a touch more dramatic, and sharpened the image on the right.
Thoughts?


Cover Wars

New Cover Samples Okay, feedback of the first two cover samples suggest one photo is too difficult to make out, and the other, the one with the couple on beach looks like a YA novel cover. The couple in the story is in their twenties, but it is certainly not a YA novel. I call it a literary love story, but the newly coined genre, New Adult, is also an appropriate fit. There is explicit language and scenes. With that in mind, here are two new variations of the cover. Please keep the comments coming!

Other photo options: Here are two other photos I like, but are much more suggestive. My favorite photo by far is the one on the left as the couple actually looks similar to how I envision my characters. Unfortunately I couldn't download files big enough to insert in my sample cover.





Photoshop effect added




Cover Art Opinions Wanted

Almost there! I am very close to uploading my story to Amazon for Kindle download. I put together samples of a temporary cover - One to be seen on Amazon until the book gets printed in hard copy.  What speaks to you? I created these, so I can always alter, add or delete. Please feel free to comment. Suggestions welcomed!

And because I can't resist, here's another brief excerpt from the story:


“Marie’s a busy body. Likes to hear herself talk.” Toby said the words without anger, despite the dig at Marie. “Seems she also likes you.” I tried to lighten the mood. “Said you were easy on the eyes.” “Hey, we need the help, so I do what I can to keep those women coming back. I’m always polite, but I got them figured out,” Toby said, with an air of knowing. “Mrs. D and the rest of those church ladies are all about the eye-candy. Every so often, I walk around without my shirt on.” About to pick up a shovel, I burst out laughing. “You are a real piece of work.” He grinned and said, “Thank…

Book Review of "I've Got Your Number"

Just finished reading Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number. If you've read the book and/or seen the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, you know Kinsella's work. She's know for her grossly funny main characters and laugh out-loud moments.

My review:


I've Got Your Number is a quick, fun read done in Kinsella's quirky style with many funny moments. The fun begins when bride-to-be, Poppy Wyatt looses her engagement ring, and then her cell phone. By pure chance, she finds a perfectly good phone in a trash can. Business man Sam Roxton actually owns the phone, or at least his former, frazzled personal assistant did, until she ditched it. Desperate to be able to have a contact number people can reach her at if her ring is found, she becomes resistant to give the phone back to Sam.

They make a conditional agreement - she is to forward all the emails and texts to him, and she must return the phone as soon as the ring is found.
After innocently snooping and reading h…

Book Review

My first formal Manuscript Review:

Dear Suzanne, Thank you for submitting your work for evaluation. I am pleased to report that your manuscript has been accepted for publication. I want to be the first to congratulate you. You have a terrific writing style. I can tell that you have done much planning and preparation in crafting your work – especially the way you have thought out the characters and movement that happens in the story. This is not an easy feat. Your prose is very nicely written with details that capture the reader. Right from the start your plot was very engaging and I found myself really connected with what was going on. It is easy to have too much going on too soon – not in your case. Your plot is slow and methodical and you use your dialogue to move the plot along. With that being said, you really do a nice job of slowly making your way through the story with details and a certain voice (yours as the author) that allows your reader to really interact with the characte…

On my way

I am thrilled to say I have secured a publishing company, and even though there is a ton of work to gather and do, Saving Toby is that much closer to seeing print!
I had to rework my synopsis down a bit, to fit 250 words. This is what I came up with. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

Back Cover Hook with synopsis:

Loving someone through their hard fall from grace takes a lot of grit.In school, Toby Faye was a moody kid who sat in the back of class and looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there. Claudia Chiametti, the perfect student, always sat in the front row.  She might have forgotten him if it weren't for the fact that his family had been involved in two tragic events. In the small town of Sayville, Long Island, many knew of the family’s dark history. Hired on as a caretaker to Mrs. Faye, Claudia is thrown into the lives of the widow and her son — a world where sadness lingers and old wounds run deep. Now twenty-one, Toby is not so quiet. A mass of muscles and unruly…

Progress

Where's the story at?
The final proofreading of "Saving Toby" is finished. I am working on small adjustments where the proofer made notes.

I got my first written review:

"Saving Toby is a great debut novel from Suzanne McKenna Link. This modern day romance tells the story of Toby and Claudia and how they endure the ups and downs of a relationship. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced, never wanting to put this book down!"Michele L. Mathews ~ Indiana
Next up is publication: Cover art, conversion to eBook format, uploading to Amazon, and ultimately a printed version.

I visited the library here in my hometown. Next to the new DVDs, they now have a "Local Authors" area. Two of the books on the shelves are by women I currently work with. I will see my book up there someday, too.

Until then, I work diligently at the tiresome, daunting task of finding a reputable publisher.

Wish me luck!
Saving Toby… Location, location, location…
20 Year-old Claudia POV: After the divorce, my mother had followed a job to California, and my Dad and I had become a team. We'd weathered three years without her, still in the house I’d grown up in, in the small town of Sayville, about a half-mile from the Great South Bay on the south shore of Long Island.


















         “Remember the Fayes? On Roosevelt Avenue?” Without pause, my father said, “You are not working for Al Faye.” I rolled my eyes. “Dad, the man’s dead. And Mrs. Faye is very sick.” “Well, that’s a shame.” Dad pointed. “Set the table. If I remember correctly, there were two boys. One’s a convicted felon. Where’s the other one?” “Toby is still there.” I went to the cabinet and took out dishes. “What’s his story? He’s been in trouble?” “I don’t think so. You’d know, wouldn’t you?” “Ah, probably just a matter of time before we arrest him for something.” Dad added some salt to the pot and tasted it. “That’s not a nice thing to say,” I …
An inspirational quote courtesy of Joel Osteen (somewhat reworked in my own words) :
When someone we love tells us they're proud of us, something comes alive on the inside. He/she may be doing a hundred things wrong, things you don't like, but find three that you do, and pour the honor in.Let your words be a blessing and watch them rise higher.

Chapter 1 - Main characters meet

“There's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met.”         ― Jim Henson


POV: 20 year-old Claudia Chiametti
“You remember Toby, don’t you?” Mrs. Faye asked. “Of course.” I replied, quickly doing the math in my head. Four years of high school and two of college. “It’s been at least six years, though. I’m sure I wouldn’t even recognize him if I saw him.” I tried to move back to my seat without breaking our eye contact. Out of the corner of my eye I became aware of motion, but too late to stop myself, I bumped into a solid wall of body. “Oh!” I gasped, surprised as I hit a warm, immoveable mass with my shoulder and bounced off. A pair of hands caught me around the waist and kept me from tumbling over. The collision brought me eye-level with the angular chin of a guy’s face. His windswept, tawny brown hair was streaked with multi-hued highlights. The untamed waves softly framed a tan, handsome face. “Excuse me,” I mumbled, looking up into a pair of almond shaped, blue-grey e…

Story Summary

For the last few years, I have been working steadily towards making my dream come true - to become a published author. My very first completed fictional novel, a literary love story, will soon be published and available for your reading pleasure. Check back for updates!

Saving Toby

Story summary: 


Loving someone through their hard fall from grace takes a lot of grit.
When pious widow, Julia Faye is re-diagnosed with Lymphoma, ambitious, 20 year-old Claudia Chiametti is hired to assist her around the house through her convalescence. But in their small Long Island town, the Faye family is known for its tragic history. Due to her care-taking role with his mother, Claudia is inevitably forced into close proximity with Mrs. Faye’s youngest son, Toby. With rumors of fights, drugs and shady friends, Claudia is surprised to find that underneath a head-turning handsome face is a guy who is amusing and rather sweet.
 21 year-old Toby Faye returns home with a sense of obligation. He will once again h…